Phenotypic Characterization of Dysmenorrhea: A Pilot Study
Chen X. Chen, PhD, MS, RN, Janet S. Carpenter, PhD, RN, FAAN, Evelyn Toh, PhD, Qunfeng Dong, PhD, Xiang Gao, PhD, MS, David E. Nelson, PhD, Fletcher White, MS, PhD, Smriti Iyengar, PhD, Dennis Fortenberry, MD, MS
Objectives/Goals: Dysmenorrhea (menstrual pain) affects up to 95% of reproductive-age women, interferes with daily activities, and increases women’s risk for other chronic pain conditions. Our research team previously identified symptom-based phenotypes in dysmenorrhea. Further characterizing these phenotypes is a prerequisite for precision treatment. The study objectives were to evaluate the study protocol feasibility and to explore relationships between dysmenorrhea symptom-based phenotypes and potential biomarkers.
Methods: Our interdiscplinary team conduccted a prospective, descriptive, pilot study of 20 female adolescents and young adults (aged 15 to 24). Participants were recruited from a statewide research volunteer registry in Indiana, study flyer, and word-of mouth. Data were collected at enrollment, during menses, and mid-cycle (i.e., not menstruating). Participants completed questionnaires on dysmenorrhea symptoms, psychosocial and behavioral characteristics, and provide self-collected samples for microbiome 16S rRNA gene sequencing, and lab-collected saliva samples for assays of inflammatory and pain biomarkers.
Results/Anticipated Results: We found high study protocol feasibility and acceptability with 100% recruitment goal reached, 100% participant retention rate, and 100% biospecimen return rate. The data on associations between dysmenorrhea symptom-based phenotypes and potential biomarkers are under analysis.
Discussion/Significance of Impact: Findings will provide preliminary data to support larger studies on dysmenorrhea symptom-based phenotypes. This line of inquiry will help identify personalized markers that can be used to stratify dysmenorrhea subgroups, and in the long term, to determine which subgroup will benefit the most from different treatments. Knowledge gained from this line of research has the potential to transform a “one-size-fits-all” approach to dysmenorrhea/menstrual pain treatment to a precision-based approach with the ultimate goal to improve women’s quality of life.
Grant Numbers/Other Funding Source: This presentation will be supported by Grant Numbers KL2 TR002530 and UL1 TR002529 (A. Shekhar, PI) from the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, Clinical and Translational Sciences Award. This research was also supported by the Enhanced Mentoring Program with Opportunities for Ways to Excel in Research (EMPOWER) Grant from the Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis. (Chen, PI) and the Center for Enhancing Quality of Life in Chronic Illness pilot grant (Chen, PI) from the Indiana University School of Nursing. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health or other funders.